Meeting your Primary Duty under harmonised WHS legislation as an Employer and 7 keys to developing online induction

The extract below is from the model WHS Act which is currently legislation is all States other than Victoria and Western Australia. These 2 States have very similar requirements. It is important to note that when the legislation mentions ‘workers’, it is referring to employees, contractors and volunteers. So basically, amongst other things, we have a duty to ensure all of our staff, contractors and volunteers have been inducted and trained in relation to any hazards they may face at our workplaces, and what suitable controls need to be in place.

Given the nature of our workplaces, compliance with this duty can be a difficult. We often have lots of casual staff, high turnover and numerous short – term staff and contractors.

  •  First issue, how do we get all of these people in a room together to induct them when they commence work at varying times and there is a constant procession of new starters
  • Second issue, okay, we managed to get a number of them together, but 2 of them were sick on the day, and a few started work the week after the induction. Back to the drawing board, we need another session.
  • So we decide to make the inductions one-on-one. This starts off well, but eventually we find that the inductions drop off, as those allocated with the job of inducting are busy doing other things.
  • Even if we manage to induct these people safely, our next problem is, do we have sufficient records?  We need to be able to prove that we have provided the correct information, and that it has been understood by each worker.  We also need attendance registers.

So, many of us find ourselves remaining non-compliant.  I have been Safety and Training Manager at both the Melbourne Cricket Club and Melbourne Racing Club for a number of years. The only way I could manage compliance with this duty was to introduce online inductions. There is still a need for a certain amount of induction on the job. However this is so much more manageable if you can take the bulk of information and transfer this to an online learning format. All of the problems listed above disappear.

 7 keys to remember when developing online induction:

  1. Keep in simple, not too many words
  2. Use pictures and videos
  3. Structure the course so that it flows well, consider workplace flow
  4. Make it interactive
  5. Have assessment and certification to aid in your evidence gathering and to make sure the message is getting through
  6. Make sure you are able to automate records of completion
  7. Use a well-established and user-friendly LMS, this does not need to be expensive.

Julie McLoughlin is the Director of OHS&HR Management Systems Pty Ltd and has been on the management committee and a long time instructor at the Venue Management School. Julie currently teaches a Cert 1V in training and Assessment and a Diploma of WHS in the VET sector.

Julie has developed the safetyinduct product which uses ‘Moodle’ open-source software in order to make online inductions both simple to and affordable for the leisure and venue industry. Moodle was developed in Perth and is used throughout the world. It is heavily used throughout the tertiary education sector.

“Division 2       Primary duty of care

       19   Primary duty of care

(1)  A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:

(a)  workers engaged, or caused to be engaged by the person; and

(b)  workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the person,

while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking.

(3) …a person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable:

(f)    the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking”

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